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3D Plastic Printing

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tdishman
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I read an article about this, and thought it would be appropriate to post here. Shapeways is a company that lets you submit your 3D designs online, and they "print" them in plastic and send you the final model.

www.shapeways.com

I have no idea what the cost is (I'm guessing it's reasonable), but this could come in handy for those wanting to add some nice large models to their prototypes.

InvisibleJon
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The price of the model is a

The price of the model is a function of:
* The material used: http://www.shapeways.com/about/material-options
* ...and the size of the object: http://www.shapeways.com/blog/archives/36-Resize,-Get-the-Right-Price.html

I estimated that to mock up a 1.5-inch x 1.5-inch x .5-inch cone with the least expensive material, it would cost ~$27.00. If you only have to pay for the material used and not the total volume of the object, then it would be a lot less expensive! I haven't been able to find out if they price on material in the model or total volume as if the model were carved from a block of the substance.

I did find a forum discussion about pricing, but it wasn't explicit enough:
http://www.shapeways.com/forum/index.php?t=msg&th=213&start=0&S=b6c8fc56...

I've requested a user ID, but they're approved manually, so it'll take a little time for me to learn more. When I do, I'll let y'all know.

- Jonathan

tdishman
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Hollowed objects...

I didn't go too much in-depth on their site, but it looks like you can submit your designs with hollow interiors to use less material:

http://www.shapeways.com/model/921/hollowed_gargoyle.html

That should cut down on the cost significantly.

InvisibleJon
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I suspect you're correct...

They're processed my request for a user ID. I've submitted a question on their pricing forum. We'll see what they say.

Addiso
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tested a similar system

I've had the chance to test a similar powder/adhesive based system (which could do flat colors as a plus) on one of our 3d characters. They priced for the actual volume of the material comprising the finished geometry, not the max volume. They gave a pretty accurate price estimate after they got the geometry files. They required STL, VRLM or other industry standard CAM file formats.

Our modell was hollowed out with a minimum wall thickness of 2mm-s, with 3mm diameter holes connecting the interior with the exterior, for the excess unbound powder to pour out. Besides being expensive the finishing is unaesthetic/grainy, and I would recommend it only for shape/mechanical prototyping for design/industrial parts. The tech is pretty much in infancy and not suitable for fine character work or producing even small runs in the tens.

InvisibleJon
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$ based on material in model

Pricing is based on volume of material in the model, not the volume of the bounding box.

This means that it although it may be unaesthetic, it may be a good and affordable solution for my flat hollow cone issue.

Nifty!

clearclaw
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The ships for the game

The ships for the game Container are made via a 3D raster printer. They're rather nice.

MusedFable
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There are many different

There are many different machines that are referred to as 3d printers. The finish, durability, precision, and price vary quite a bit.

3d Miniatures made some miniatures (the 28mm warhammer kind) by 3d printing a model and using it to make a mold. The final product look indistinguishable from other pewter miniatures.

It's a valid alternative to having a sculptor make a physical model out of clay/greenstuff/wax/whatever. It has the advantage of being a computer file that can be modified and duplicated.

bluesea
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There's some good info

There's some good info here:
http://www.zbrushcentral.com/zbc/showthread.php?t=57065&highlight=printer

And while in the Zbrush central forum, do a search on "3D printing" and you'll get a lot more. Some amazing work being done over there.

EDIT: I meant to add two companies that were used to create the models:

http://offloadstudios.com/core/
http://www.growit3d.com/

The more I look at the Zbrush forum the more I think that we need to hook up with these guys and collaborate on some games. It looks like some of them are just making these models for the fun of it. Why not give that fun a purpose!

kodarr
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zbrush & 3d printers

The depth 3d printers can handle in my expirience is much less than a zbrush model, which is usually around 30-60 million polygons. And I dont know any 3d printers that can handle normal maps

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